25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Deep-sea divers were hired to repair the pumps in Smuggler Mine, as the levels continued to flood after it shut down. The newspaper tried to clear up the rumors circulating in Aspen when the Smuggler and Durant mines closed in 1908. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society )

One of the rumors was that the shutdown was ordered in an endeavor to force D.R.C. Brown to come to D.M. Hyman with a proposition to lease his entire holdings on Smuggler and Aspen mountains.

Again that it was done to force a reduction in transportation and smelting charges.

Another rumor was that it was an attempt to force Brown to pay half the pumping expenses of the Smuggler as that company’s pumps [see photo] were draining a considerable portion of the Brown properties on Aspen mountain. …

Yesterday it was stated for a fact that a deal had been effected whereby the Brown interests in the Aspen district had been leased to Hyman and Guggenheim. That the present pumping plant would be put out of commission and replaced with an up-to-date electric plant. That a considerable force of men would be put to work on Monday and that by the end of next week the force at work in the various properties would equal if not exceed the number of men laid off at the time of the shutdown. …

Mr. Elias Cohen, Mr. Hyman’s right-hand man, stated the Hyman interests in the district had been operating under lease for a number of years several of the properties controlled by D.R.C. Brown … there had been no disagreement with Mr. Brown over pumping as the ground leased is below the water level.

Further than this Mr. Cohen denied there was any truth in the various reports. That the condition of the metal at the present time was practically the same as at the time of the shutdown and that the mines were closed owing to the fact the company deemed it advisable to utilize the treasury to keep the properties in first class condition rather than ship the ore at a sacrifice.

Mr. Cohen said that it was the earnest desire of Mr. Hyman to start up just s soon as possible and that in the meantime the people of Aspen should not pay any attention to the various rumors in circulation.

The road fund of Pitkin county had been handled in a most unbusinesslike manner ever since Pitkin county’s lines were formed by the Colorado legislature. Tom, Dick or Harry have been appointed as road overseers and some of them didn’t know any more about a road [see photo] than a jack rabbit; in fact, bets can be secured that the rabbit is the more familiar with a good road. …

At the present time we have five road overseers, who with their teams, will draw $6 per day each. … It is fair to presume that 150 days will be devoted by these road gangs in repairing and building roads; this will make a total of $8,250 for the taxpayers to pay. … Had the county commissioners had the interests of the people at heart they would have been content with the appointment of one good road overseer and allowed him a gang of men and the tools necessary for repair work. … One hundred days’ work by this gang of men would accomplish five times as much as the five gangs and the expense would only sum up $3,200. …

At the present time Pitkin county owns but one road-building implement worthy of consideration, and that is a good grader; and that grader is now being used to milk cows down in Brush creek. When the grader is in use but one overseer at a time can have it, while the other four gangs draw salary waiting for that one to get through with it.

Road overseer McDonald or any other good man will grade all the county roads in less than 200 days at a cost to the county not to exceed $6,400, and it would be a pleasure to drive to the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Snow Mass, Maroon lakes and other points of interest.

Known for their comic as well as acting ability, the Ent Players from Colorado Springs is famous for its shows each summer at Cripple Creek and will be seen in Aspen in one of their best known plays, “Because Their Hearts Were Pure” or “The Secret of The Mine.”

The melodrama, to be performed the evenings of Jan. 24 and 25, complete with mustachioed villain, a villainess. a handsome hero, and a pure, virginal heroine, has a cast of 12 and uses 19 scene shifts.

In addition to the comedy the Ent Players will present selected Olio acts and tunes from the gay nineties era on the piano. Admission will be $1 per person.

COMMERCIAL Lots ” Four lots on the hottest corner in town are offered for sale for development purposes. This is the last downtown piece of undeveloped property. Price $26,000 and terms would be considered.

RED MTN. HOMES ” Located on a choice 13 acres on lower Red Mtn., these two houses are completely furnished and ready to move into. This property is adjacent to Aspen’s newest subdivision, Pitkin Green. We have a buyer who will pay a premium price for any extra acreage the purchaser does not need. Priced now at $75,000 with terms.

WEST SIDE BRICK ” Two bedroom with fireplace, separate studio, all in perfect condition is now offered for sale for only $8000 down ” total price $15,000.

Citing frustrations brought on by frequent changes in management and ownership, John Thorbeck, the Aspen Skiing Company’s vice president for marketing, announced his resignation this week, thus becoming the latest in a string of top executives to leave the increasingly unsettled company. … He joined the ranks of the departing “old guard,” which include executives such as company president Tom Richardson, vice presidents Pete Sullivan and Larry Beidleman.

The once privately owned Ski Company (then the Skiing Corporation) has recently become something of a corporate hockey puck, controlled first by Twentieth Century Fox, then by oilman Marvin Davis, and, most recently, by a real estate investment branch of Aetna Life Insurance. …

Possibly Thorbeck’s major accomplishment was the elevation of the World Cup races to a full week of activities and glittering hoopla, which has drawn national attention, network television coverage, and widespread emulation by other ski resorts, including, most particularly, Vail.

In establishing Winternational, Thorbeck also played a major part in creating the Aspen Foundation, a nonprofit organization that now runs the fundraising events and distributes about $100,000 a year to local nonprofit organizations. …

[Thorbeck noted] “Aspen’s problems aren’t unique in the ski industry, but the town’s inability to get together and solve those problems is unique. … You have to get people to change the way they’ve been doing things since way back when, and that’s not easy.

“I think we might be seeing Aspen’s independent spirit, its diversity, the clash of wills, that ‘don’t tread on me’ attitude, turned into a liability.

“It’s been one of the best parts of this town, but we might be finding it turned into a liability.”

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